Will Eisner

William Erwin Eisner (March 6, 1917 – January 3, 2005) was an American cartoonist, writer, and entrepreneur. He was one of the earliest cartoonists to work in the American comic book industry, and his series The Spirit (1940–1952) was noted for its experiments in content and form. In 1978, he popularized the term "graphic novel" with the publication of his book A Contract with God. He was an early contributor to formal comics studies with his book Comics and Sequential Art (1985). The Eisner Award was named in his honor, and is given to recognize achievements each year in the comics medium; he was one of the three inaugural inductees to the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame.

Will Eisner
Will Eisner (San Diego Comic Con, 2004)
Will Eisner in 2004
BornWilliam Erwin Eisner
March 6, 1917
Brooklyn, New York City
DiedJanuary 3, 2005 (aged 87)
Lauderdale Lakes, Florida, U.S.
NationalityAmerican
Area(s)Cartoonist, Publisher
Pseudonym(s)William Erwin Maxwell[1]
Notable works
www.willeisner.com

Biography

Family background

Eisner's father Shmuel "Samuel" Eisner was born March 6, 1886, in Kolomyia, Austria-Hungary, and was one of eleven children. He aspired to be an artist, and as a teenager painted murals for rich patrons and Catholic churches in Vienna. To avoid conscription in the army, he moved to New York before the outbreak of World War I.[2] There he found getting work difficult as his English skills were poor.[3] He made what living he could painting backdrops for vaudeville and the Jewish theater.[4]

Eisner's mother, Fannie Ingber, was born to Jewish parents from Romania April 25, 1891, on a ship bound for the US. Her mother died on her tenth birthday, and was quickly followed by her father. An older stepsister thereafter raised her and kept her so busy with chores that she had little time for socializing or schooling; she did what she could later in life to keep knowledge of her illiteracy from her children.[4]

Family introduced Shmuel and Fannie, who were distant relatives.[5] They had three children: son Will Erwin, born on his father's birthday in 1917; son Julian, born February 3, 1921; and daughter Rhoda, born November 2, 1929.[6]

Early life

Wow, What a Magazine! No. 3
Wow, What a Magazine! No. 3 (Sept. 1936): Cover art by a teenage Eisner.

Eisner was born in Brooklyn, New York City. He grew up poor, and the family moved frequently.[6] Young Eisner often got into physical confrontations when subjected to antisemitism from his schoolmates.[7] His family were not orthodox followers of Judaism; Eisner himself, while he prided his cultural background, turned against the religion when his family was denied entry to a synagogue over lack of money for admission.[8]

Young Eisner was tall and of sturdy build, but lacked athletic skills.[9] He was a voracious consumer of pulp magazines and film, including avant-garde films such as those by Man Ray.[10] To his mother's disappointment, Eisner had his father's interest in art, and his father encouraged him by buying him art supplies.[9]

Eisner's mother frequently berated his father for not providing the family a better income, as he went from one job to another. Without success he also tried his hand at such ventures as a furniture retailer and a coat factory.[11] The family situation was especially dire following the Wall Street Crash of 1929 that marked the beginning of the Great Depression.[12] In 1930, the situation was so desperate that Eisner's mother demanded that he, at thirteen, find some way to contribute to the family's income. He entered working life selling newspapers on street corners, a competitive job where the toughest boys fought for the best locations.[13]

Eisner attended DeWitt Clinton High School. With influences that included the early 20th-century commercial artist J. C. Leyendecker,[14] he drew for the school newspaper (The Clintonian), the literary magazine (The Magpie) and the yearbook, and did stage design, leading him to consider doing that kind of work for theater. Upon graduation, he studied under Canadian artist George Brandt Bridgman (1864–1943) for a year at the Art Students League of New York. Contacts made there led to a position as an advertising writer-cartoonist for the New York American newspaper. Eisner also drew $10-a-page illustrations for pulp magazines, including Western Sheriffs and Outlaws.

In 1936, high-school friend and fellow cartoonist Bob Kane, of future Batman fame, suggested that the 19-year-old Eisner try selling cartoons to the new comic book Wow, What A Magazine! "Comic books" at the time were tabloid-sized collections of comic strip reprints in color. By 1935, they had begun to include occasional new comic strip-like material. Wow editor Jerry Iger bought an Eisner adventure strip called Captain Scott Dalton, an H. Rider Haggard-styled hero who traveled the world after rare artifacts. Eisner subsequently wrote and drew the pirate strip "The Flame" and the secret agent strip "Harry Karry" for Wow as well.

Eisner said that on one occasion a man who Eisner described as "a Mob type straight out of Damon Runyon, complete with pinkie ring, broken nose, black shirt, and white tie, who claimed to have "exclusive distribution rights for all Brooklyn" asked Eisner to draw Tijuana bibles for $3 a page. Eisner said that he declined the offer; he described the decision as "one of the most difficult moral decisions of my life".[15]

Eisner & Iger

Wow lasted four issues (cover-dated July–September and November 1936). After it ended, Eisner and Iger worked together producing and selling original comics material, anticipating that the well of available reprints would soon run dry, though their accounts of how their partnership was founded differ. One of the first such comic-book "packagers", their partnership was an immediate success, and the two soon had a stable of comics creators supplying work to Fox Comics, Fiction House, Quality Comics (for whom Eisner co-created such characters as Doll Man and Blackhawk), and others. Turning a profit of $1.50 a page, Eisner claimed that he "got very rich before I was 22,"[16] later detailing that in Depression-era 1939 alone, he and Iger "had split $25,000 between us",[17] a considerable amount for the time.

Among the studio's products was a self-syndicated Sunday comic strip, Hawks of the Sea, that initially reprinted Eisner's old strip Wow, What A Magazine! feature "The Flame" and then continued it with new material.[18] Eisner's original work even crossed the Atlantic, with Eisner drawing the new cover of the October 16, 1937 issue of Boardman Books' comic-strip reprint tabloid Okay Comics Weekly.[19]

In 1939, Eisner was commissioned to create Wonder Man for Victor Fox, an accountant who had previously worked at DC Comics and was becoming a comic book publisher himself. Following Fox's instructions to create a Superman-type character, and using the pen name Willis, Eisner wrote and drew the first issue of Wonder Comics. Eisner said in interviews throughout his later life that he had protested the derivative nature of the character and story, and that when subpoenaed after National Periodical Publications, the company that would evolve into DC Comics, sued Fox, alleging Wonder Man was an illegal copy of Superman, Eisner testified that this was so, undermining Fox's case;[20] Eisner even depicts himself doing so in his semi-autobiographical graphic novel The Dreamer.[21] However, a transcript of the proceeding, uncovered by comics historian Ken Quattro in 2010, indicates Eisner in fact supported Fox and claimed Wonder Man as an original Eisner creation.[22]

The Spirit

TheSpiritNo21
Eisner's cover for The Spirit, Oct 6, 1946.

In "late '39, just before Christmas time," Eisner recalled in 1979,[23] Quality Comics publisher Everett M. "Busy" Arnold "came to me and said that the Sunday newspapers were looking for a way of getting into this comic book boom," In a 2004 interview,[24] he elaborated on that meeting:

"Busy" invited me up for lunch one day and introduced me to Henry Martin [sales manager of The Des Moines Register and Tribune Syndicate, who] said, "The newspapers in this country, particularly the Sunday papers, are looking to compete with comics books, and they would like to get a comic-book insert into the newspapers." ... Martin asked if I could do it. ... It meant that I'd have to leave Eisner & Iger [which] was making money; we were very profitable at that time and things were going very well. A hard decision. Anyway, I agreed to do the Sunday comic book and we started discussing the deal [which] was that we'd be partners in the 'Comic Book Section,' as they called it at that time. And also, I would produce two other magazines in partnership with Arnold.

Eisner negotiated an agreement with the syndicate in which Arnold would copyright The Spirit, but, "Written down in the contract I had with 'Busy' Arnold — and this contract exists today as the basis for my copyright ownership — Arnold agreed that it was my property. They agreed that if we had a split-up in any way, the property would revert to me on that day that happened. My attorney went to 'Busy' Arnold and his family, and they all signed a release agreeing that they would not pursue the question of ownership".[24] This would include the eventual backup features "Mr. Mystic" and "Lady Luck".

Selling his share of their firm to Iger, who would continue to package comics as the S. M. Iger Studio and as Phoenix Features through 1955, for $20,000,[25] Eisner left to create The Spirit. "They gave me an adult audience", Eisner said in 1997, "and I wanted to write better things than superheroes. Comic books were a ghetto. I sold my part of the enterprise to my associate and then began The Spirit. They wanted an heroic character, a costumed character. They asked me if he'd have a costume. And I put a mask on him and said, 'Yes, he has a costume!'"[26]

The Spirit, an initially eight- and later seven-page urban-crimefighter series, ran with the initial backup features "Mr. Mystic" and "Lady Luck" in a 16-page Sunday supplement (colloquially called "The Spirit Section") that was eventually distributed in 20 newspapers with a combined circulation of as many as five million copies.[27] It premiered June 2, 1940, and continued through 1952.[28] Eisner has cited the Spirit story "Gerhard Shnobble" as a particular favorite, as it was one of his first attempts at injecting his personal point of view into the series.[29]

World War II and Joe Dope

PSJune1951
Premiere issue of the U.S. Army publication PS (June 1951), designed to be a "postscript" to related publications. Art by Eisner.

Eisner was drafted into the U.S. Army in "late '41, early '42"[30] and then "had about another half-year which the government gave me to clean up my affairs before going off" to fight in World War II.[31] He was assigned to the camp newspaper at Aberdeen Proving Ground, where "there was also a big training program there, so I got involved in the use of comics for training. ... I finally became a warrant officer, which involved taking a test – that way you didn't have to go through Officer Candidate School."[30]

En route to Washington, D.C., he stopped at the Holabird Ordnance Depot in Baltimore, Maryland, where a mimeographed publication titled Army Motors was put together. "Together with the people there ... I helped develop its format. I began doing cartoons – and we began fashioning a magazine that had the ability to talk to the G.I.s in their language. So I began to use comics as a teaching tool, and when I got to Washington, they assigned me to the business of teaching – or selling – preventive maintenance."[32]

Eisner then created the educational comic strip and titular character Joe Dope for Army Motors, and spent four years working in The Pentagon editing the ordnance magazine Firepower and doing "all the general illustrations – that is, cartoons" for Army Motors. He continued to work on that and its 1950 successor magazine, PS, The Preventive Maintenance Monthly until 1971.[32] Eisner also illustrated an official Army pamphlet in 1968 and 1969 called The M16A1 Rifle specifically for troops in Vietnam to help minimize the M-16 rifle's notorious early reliability problems with proper maintenance. Eisner's style helped to popularize these officially-distributed works in order to better educate soldiers on equipment maintenance.[33][34]

While Eisner's later graphic novels were entirely his own work, he had a studio working under his supervision on The Spirit. In particular, letterer Abe Kanegson came up with the distinctive lettering style which Eisner himself would later imitate in his book-length works, and Kanegson would often rewrite Eisner's dialogue.[35]

Eisner's most trusted assistant on The Spirit, however, was Jules Feiffer, later a renowned cartoonist, playwright and screenwriter in his own right. Eisner later said of their working methods "You should hear me and Jules Feiffer going at it in a room. 'No, you designed the splash page for this one, then you wrote the ending — I came up with the idea for the story, and you did it up to this point, then I did the next page and this sequence here and ...' And I'll be swearing up and down that 'he' wrote the ending on that one. We never agree".[35]

So trusted were Eisner's assistants that Eisner allowed them to "ghost" The Spirit from the time that he was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1942 until his return to civilian life in 1945. The primary wartime artists were the uncredited Lou Fine and Jack Cole, with future Kid Colt, Outlaw artist Jack Keller drawing backgrounds. Ghost writers included Manly Wade Wellman and William Woolfolk. The wartime ghosted stories have been reprinted in DC Comics' hardcover collections The Spirit Archives Vols. 5 to 11 (2001–2003), spanning July 1942 – December 1944.

Post-war comics

On Eisner's return from service and resumption of his role in the studio, he created the bulk of the Spirit stories on which his reputation was solidified. The post-war years also saw him attempt to launch the comic-strip/comic-book series Baseball, John Law, Kewpies, and Nubbin the Shoeshine Boy; none succeeded, but some material was recycled into The Spirit.

The Spirit ceased publishing in 1952. During the 1960s and 1970s, various publishers reprinted the adventures often with covers by Eisner and with a few new stories from him.

American Visuals Corporation

During his World War II military service, Eisner had introduced the use of comics for training personnel in the publication Army Motors, for which he created the cautionary bumbling soldier Joe Dope, who illustrated various methods of preventive maintenance of various military equipment and weapons. In 1948, while continuing to do The Spirit and seeing television and other post-war trends eat at the readership base of newspapers, he formed the American Visuals Corporation in order to produce instructional materials for the government, related agencies, and businesses.[36]

One of his longest-running jobs was PS, The Preventive Maintenance Monthly, a digest sized magazine with comic book elements that he started for the Army in 1951 and continued to work on until the 1970s with Klaus Nordling, Mike Ploog, and other artists. In addition, Eisner produced other military publications such as the graphic manual in 1969, The M-16A1 Rifle: Operation and Preventative Maintenance, which was distributed along with cleaning kits to address serious reliability concerns with the M16 Rifle during the Vietnam War.[36]

Other clients of his Connecticut-based company included RCA Records, the Baltimore Colts NFL football team, and New York Telephone.

Graphic novels

Contractwithgod
Trade paperback edition of A Contract with God; the concurrent 1,500-copy hardcover release did not use the term "graphic novel" on its cover.

In the late 1970s, Eisner turned his attention to longer storytelling forms. A Contract with God, and Other Tenement Stories (Baronet Books, October 1978) is an early example of an American graphic novel, combining thematically linked short stories into a single square-bound volume. Eisner continued with a string of graphic novels that tell the history of New York's immigrant communities, particularly Jews, including The Building, A Life Force, Dropsie Avenue and To the Heart of the Storm. He continued producing new books into his seventies and eighties, at an average rate of nearly one a year. Each of these books was done twice — once as a rough version to show editor Dave Schreiner, then as a second, finished version incorporating suggested changes.[37]

Some of his last work was the retelling in sequential art of novels and myths, including Moby-Dick. In 2002, at the age of 85, he published Sundiata, based on the part-historical, part-mythical stories of a West African king, "The Lion of Mali". Fagin the Jew is an account of the life of Dickens' character Fagin, in which Eisner tries to get past the stereotyped portrait of Fagin in Oliver Twist.

His last graphic novel, The Plot: The Secret Story of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, an account of the making, and refutation, of the anti-semitic hoax The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, was completed shortly before his death and published in 2005.

In 2008, Will Eisner's The Spirit: A Pop-Up Graphic Novel was published, with Bruce Foster as paper engineer.[38]

Teaching

In his later years especially, Eisner was a frequent lecturer about the craft and uses of sequential art. He taught at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, where he published Will Eisner's Gallery, a collection of work by his students[39] and wrote two books based on these lectures, Comics and Sequential Art and Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative, which are widely used by students of cartooning. In 2002, Eisner participated in the Will Eisner Symposium of the 2002 University of Florida Conference on Comics and Graphic Novels.[40]

Death

Eisner died January 3, 2005, in Lauderdale Lakes, Florida, of complications from a quadruple bypass surgery performed December 22, 2004.[41][42] DC Comics held a memorial service in Manhattan's Lower East Side, a neighborhood Eisner often visited in his work, at the Angel Orensanz Foundation on Norfolk Street.[43]

Eisner was survived by his wife, Ann Weingarten Eisner, and their son, John.[44][45][46] In the introduction to the 2001 reissue of A Contract with God, Eisner revealed that the inspiration for the title story grew out of the 1970 death of his leukemia-stricken teenaged daughter, Alice, next to whom he is buried. Until then, only Eisner's closest friends were aware of his daughter's life and death.

Awards and honors

Eisner has been recognized for his work with the National Cartoonists Society Comic Book Award for 1967, 1968, 1969, 1987 and 1988, as well as its Story Comic Book Award in 1979,[47] and its Reuben Award in 1998.

He was inducted into the Academy of Comic Book Arts Hall of Fame in 1971, and the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1987. The following year, the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards were established in his honor.

in 1975, he received the second Grand Prix de la ville d'Angoulême.

With Jack Kirby, Robert Crumb, Harvey Kurtzman, Gary Panter, and Chris Ware, Eisner was among the artists honored in the exhibition "Masters of American Comics" at the Jewish Museum in New York City, from September 16, 2006 to January 28, 2007.[48][49]

On the 94th anniversary of Eisner's birth, in 2011, Google used an image featuring the Spirit as its logo.[50][51]

In 2015, Eisner was posthumously elected to the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame.[52]

Comics by Will Eisner are archived in the James Branch Cabell Library of Virginia Commonwealth University.[53] VCU's James Branch Cabell Library has served as the repository for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards since 2005. Each year following Comic-Con, nominated and award-winning titles are donated to the library's Special Collections and Archives and made available to researchers and visitors. Approximately 1,000 comic books, graphic novels, archival editions, scholarly titles, and journals are included in the VCU library's expansive Comic Arts Collection.[54]

In honor of Eisner's centennial in 2017, Denis Kitchen and John Lind co-curated the largest retrospective exhibitions of Will Eisner's original artwork, shown simultaneously at The Society of Illustrators in New York City and Le Musée de la Bande Dessinée in Angoulême, France. Both exhibitions were titled Will Eisner Centennial Celebration and collectively over 400 original pieces were included.[55] A catalogue of the same name was released by Dark Horse Books and nominated for multiple Eisner Awards in 2018.[56]

Original books

  • Odd Facts. Tempo Star Books. 1975. ISBN 0-441-60918-X.
  • A Contract with God. Baronet Books. 1978. ISBN 0-89437-035-9.
    • DC Comics reissue ISBN 1-56389-674-5
  • Life on Another Planet. 1983. ISBN 0-87816-370-0.
  • Comics and Sequential Art. 1985. ISBN 0-9614728-0-4.
  • New York: The Big City (softcover ed.). 1986. ISBN 0-87816-020-5.
    • Hardcover reprint 2000 ISBN 1-56389-682-6
  • The Dreamer. 1986. ISBN 1-56389-678-8.
  • The Building. 1987. ISBN 0-87816-024-8.
  • A Life Force. 1988. ISBN 0-87816-038-8.
  • Art of Will Eisner (2nd ed.). Kitchen Sink. 1989. ISBN 0-87816-076-0.
  • To the Heart of the Storm. 1991. ISBN 1-56389-679-6.
  • The Will Eisner Reader. 1991. ISBN 0-87816-129-5.
  • Invisible People. 1993. ISBN 0-87816-208-9.
  • Dropsie Avenue. 1995. ISBN 0-87816-348-4.
  • Will Eisner Sketchbook (softcover ed.). Kitchen Sink. 1995. ISBN 0-87816-399-9.
    • Hardcover edition ISBN 0-87816-400-6
  • Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative. 1996. ISBN 0-9614728-3-9.
  • The Princess and the Frog. 1996. ISBN 1-56163-244-9.
  • A Family Matter. 1998. ISBN 0-87816-621-1.
  • Last Day in Vietnam. 2000. ISBN 1-56971-500-9.
  • The Last Knight. 2000. ISBN 1-56163-251-1.
  • Minor Miracles. 2000. ISBN 1-56389-751-2.
  • Will Eisner's Shop Talk. Dark Horse Comics. 2001. ISBN 1-56971-536-X.
  • Fagin the Jew. 2003. ISBN 0-385-51009-8.
  • The Name of the Game. 2003. ISBN 1-56389-869-1.
  • Will Eisner's John Law: Dead Man Walking (softcover ed.). IDW. 2004. ISBN 1-932382-27-5.
    • Hardcover edition ISBN 1-932382-83-6
  • The Plot: The Secret Story of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. WW Norton. 2005. ISBN 0-393-06045-4.

References

  1. ^ As co-creator of Doll Man.
  2. ^ Schumacher 2010, p. 2.
  3. ^ Schumacher 2010, pp. 2–3.
  4. ^ a b Schumacher 2010, p. 3.
  5. ^ Schumacher 2010, pp. 3–4.
  6. ^ a b Schumacher 2010, p. 4.
  7. ^ Schumacher 2010, p. 6.
  8. ^ Schumacher 2010, pp. 7–8.
  9. ^ a b Schumacher 2010, p. 10.
  10. ^ Schumacher 2010, pp. 8–9.
  11. ^ Schumacher 2010, p. 5.
  12. ^ Schumacher 2010, p. 11.
  13. ^ Schumacher 2010, p. 12.
  14. ^ Lovece, Frank (1974). Maple Leaf Publications, Paul Kowtiuk, ed. "Cons: New York 1974!". The Journal Summer Special. Box 1286, Essex, ON, CA N0R 1E0).
  15. ^ Spiegelman, Art. "Tijuana Bibles", Salon.com, August 19, 1997. p. 2. WebCitation archive, main page and p. 2. Retrieved on February 24, 2009.
  16. ^ Mercer, Marilyn, "The Only Real Middle-Class Crimefighter," New York (Sunday supplement, New York Herald Tribune), January 9, 1966; reprinted Alter Ego No. 48, May 2005
  17. ^ Heintjes, Tom, The Spirit: The Origin Years #3 (Kitchen Sink Press, September 1992)
  18. ^ Hawks of the Sea at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on March 15, 2012.
  19. ^ Dowell, Gary; Holman, Greg (2008). Halperin, James, ed. Heritage Comics and Comic Art Signature Auction #828. Heritage Capital Corporation. p. 84. ISBN 1599672480.
  20. ^ Andelman, Bob. Will Eisner: A Spirited Life (M Press: Milwaukie, Oregon, 2005) ISBN 978-1-59582-011-2, pp. 44–45
  21. ^ The Dreamer: A Graphic Novella Set During the Dawn of Comic Books (DC Comics : New York City, 1986 edition) ISBN 978-1-56389-678-1. Reissued by W. W. Norton & Company : New York City, London, 2008. ISBN 978-0-393-32808-0, p. 42
  22. ^ Quattro, Ken. "DC vs. Victor Fox: The Testimony of Will Eisner", The Comics Detective, July 1, 2010. WebCitation archive.
  23. ^ "Art & Commerce: An Oral Reminiscence by Will Eisner." Panels #1 (Summer 1979), pp. 5–21, quoted in Quattro, Ken (2003). "Rare Eisner: Making of a Genius". Comicartville Library. Archived from the original on December 20, 2009.
  24. ^ a b Will Eisner interview, Alter Ego No. 48 (May 2005), p. 10
  25. ^ Kitchen, Denis. "Annotations to The Dreamer, in Eisner, Will, The Dreamer (W.W. Norton & Company, New York, 2008), p. 52. ISBN 978-0-393-32808-0
  26. ^ Will Eisner interview, Jack Kirby Collector #16 (June 1997)
  27. ^ Eisner, The Dreamer, "About the Author", p. 55
  28. ^ "GCD :: Series :: The Spirit".
  29. ^ "Eisner Wide Open". Hogan's Alley.
  30. ^ a b "Will Eisner Interview", The Comics Journal No. 46 (May 1979), p. 45. Interview conducted October 13 and 17, 1978
  31. ^ Eisner interview, The Comics Journal No. 46, p. 37
  32. ^ a b Eisner interview, The Comics Journal No. 46, pp. 45–46
  33. ^ United States Department of the Army; Robert A. Sadowski (2013). The M16A1 Rifle: Operation and Preventive Maintenance. Skyhorse Publishing. ISBN 9781616088644. Retrieved 2014-07-13.
  34. ^ Mertes, Micah (November 5, 2011). "UNL professor's new book explores the weird world of government comics". Lincoln Journal Star. Will Eisner should be credited for using sequences of cartoon images to teach people how to do things, rather than merely as a way to dramatize a story or illustrate text. One of the last military projects he worked on dealt with the use and care of the problematic M16 rifle. The weapon was issued in the mid-'60s to great fanfare but soon developed a reputation for unreliability. Full of double entendres, Operation and Preventive Maintenance The M16A1 Rifle is a classic example of Eisner's incredible ability to combine effectively informational/instructional design with graphic design.
  35. ^ a b Sim, Dave, "My Dinner With Will & Other Stories," Following Cerebus No. 4 (May 2005)
  36. ^ a b Schumacher 2010.
  37. ^ Sim, Dave, "Advice & Consent: The Editing of Graphic Novels" (panel discussion with Eisner and Chester Brown) and Frank Miller interview, both Following Cerebus No. 5 (August 2005).
  38. ^ MacDonald, Heidi (Oct 20, 2008). "When the Gift is a Graphic Novel". PublishersWeekly.com. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
  39. ^ Levitz, Paul (2015). Will Eisner : champion of the graphic novel. New York: Abrams. ISBN 9781613128640. OCLC 930648436.
  40. ^ Eisner, Will. "Keynote Address from the 2002 'Will Eisner Symposium'", ImageTexT, vol. 1, No. 1 (2004). University of Florida Department of English. Retrieved 2011-02-02. WebCitation archive.
  41. ^ "Gemstone Publishing: ''Industry News'' (January 7, 2005): "In Memoriam: Will Eisner"". Scoop.diamondgalleries.com. Retrieved February 2, 2011.
  42. ^ "Will Eisner (1917–2005)", SF&F Publishing News, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, January 4, 2005. Retrieved 2011-02-02 WebCitation archive.
  43. ^ ""DC Comics Celebrates Will Eisner", "Scoop" (column), Gemstone Publishing, Inc. / Diamond International Galleries, March 19, 2005. Retrieved 2011-02-02. WebCitation archive.
  44. ^ Gravett, Paul. "Obituary: Will Eisner: He pioneered American comic books, and established the graphic novel as a literary genre", The Guardian, January 8, 2005. WebCitation archive.
  45. ^ Boxer, Sarah. "Will Eisner, a Pioneer of Comic Books, Dies at 87", The New York Times, January 5, 2005. WebCitation archive.
  46. ^ Obituaries: Will Eisner, The Daily Telegraph, January 6, 2005. WebCitation archive.
  47. ^ "Division Awards Comic Books". National Cartoonists Society. 2013. Archived from the original on December 16, 2013. Retrieved December 16, 2013.
  48. ^ "Exhibitions: Masters of American Comics". The Jewish Museum. Retrieved August 10, 2010.. WebCitation archive.
  49. ^ Kimmelman, Michael. "See You in the Funny Papers" (art review), The New York Times, October 13, 2006.WebCitation archive.
  50. ^ Seifert, Mark. "Google Celebrates Will Eisner's 94th Birthday with the Spirit Google Logo", BleedingCool.com, March 6, 2011. WebCitation archive.
  51. ^ Archive of Google March 6, 2011, main page
  52. ^ "2015 Hall of Fame Inductee: Will Eisner". Society of Illustrators. Archived from the original on May 6, 2017. Retrieved May 23, 2018.
  53. ^ "2017 News | Will Eisner Week". VCU Libraries. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
  54. ^ "The Eisner Awards: the Oscars of the Comics Industry · VCU Libraries Gallery". gallery.library.vcu.edu. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
  55. ^ "Society of Illustrators". www.societyillustrators.org. Retrieved 2018-05-23.
  56. ^ Brown, Tracy. "'My Favorite Thing Is Monsters' and 'Monstress' lead 2018 Eisner Awards nominations". latimes.com. Retrieved 2018-05-23.

Works cited

Further reading

  • Feiffer, Jules, The Great Comic-Book Heroes, ISBN 1-56097-501-6.
  • Jones, Gerard, Men of Tomorrow ISBN 0-434-01402-8.
  • Steranko, Jim, The Steranko History of Comics 2 (Supergraphics, 1972).

External links

Bill Finger

Milton Finger, known professionally as Bill Finger (February 8, 1914 – January 18, 1974), was an American comic strip and comic book writer best known as the co-creator, with Bob Kane, of the DC Comics character Batman, and the co-architect of the series' development. Although Finger did not receive contemporaneous credit for his hand in the development of Batman, Kane acknowledged Finger's contributions years after Finger's death.Finger also wrote many of the original 1940s Green Lantern stories featuring the original Green Lantern (Alan Scott), and contributed to the development of numerous other comic book series.

He was posthumously inducted into the comic book industry's Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1999. The Bill Finger Award, founded by Jerry Robinson and presented annually at the San Diego Comic-Con to honor excellence in comic-book writing, is named for him.

Black Condor

Black Condor is the super hero name used by three different fictional characters in the DC Comics universe. All three incarnations of Black Condor have been members of the Freedom Fighters and each has been featured in Freedom Fighter comic books published by DC Comics.

The first Black Condor, Richard Grey Jr., was created by Quality Comics writer Will Eisner and artist Lou Fine. He moved to the DC universe when DC Comics bought the rights to Quality Comics characters. The first Black Condor was a World War II era super hero along with the rest of the Freedom Fighters. The second Black Condor, Ryan Kendall, gained the power of flight due to genetic manipulation and initially did not believe he was a super hero. He would later join the Freedom Fighters, but was killed at the beginning of the Infinite Crisis storyline. The third Black Condor, John Trujillo, is of Mayan descent and was given his powers by the Mayan Spider Goddess Tocotl. Seeing himself as a protector of the universe he joins forces with the Freedom Fighters.

Bob Kane

Robert Kane (born Robert Kahn ; October 24, 1915 – November 3, 1998) was an American comic book writer and artist who co-created, with Bill Finger, the DC Comics character Batman. He was inducted into the comic book industry's Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1994 and into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1996.

Dick Ayers

Richard Bache "Dick" Ayers (; April 28, 1924 – May 4, 2014) was an American comic book artist and cartoonist best known for his work as one of Jack Kirby's inkers during the late-1950s and 1960s period known as the Silver Age of Comics, including on some of the earliest issues of Marvel Comics' The Fantastic Four. He is the signature penciler of Marvel's World War II comic Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos, drawing it for a 10-year run, and he co-created Magazine Enterprises' 1950s Western-horror character the Ghost Rider, a version of which he would draw for Marvel in the 1960s.

Ayers was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2007.

Doll Man

Doll Man is a fictional superhero from the Golden Age of Comics, originally published by Quality Comics and currently part of the DC Comics universe of characters. Doll Man was created by cartoonist Will Eisner and first appeared in a four-page story entitled "Meet the Doll Man" in Feature Comics #27. The issue's December, 1939 cover date indicates that Doll Man is the first comic book superhero with a shrinking power. He notably predates the more-famous Ray Palmer and Hank Pym by two decades.

Eisner Award

The Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, commonly shortened to the Eisner Awards, are prizes given for creative achievement in American comic books, sometimes referred to as the comics industry's equivalent of the Academy Awards. They are named in honor of the pioneering writer and artist Will Eisner, who was a regular participant in the award ceremony until his death in 2005. The Eisner Awards include the Comic Industry's Hall of Fame.

The nominations in each category are generated by a five- to six-member jury, then voted on by comic book professionals and presented at the annual San Diego Comic-Con held in July, usually on Friday night. The jury often consists of at least one comics retailer, one librarian (since 2005), and one academic researcher, among other comics experts.

Fagin the Jew

Fagin the Jew is a graphic novel by American cartoonist Will Eisner.In this book, Eisner retells the story of Fagin from Charles Dickens's Oliver Twist from Fagin's point of view. Eisner portrays Fagin as a distressed and complex character, and tells the story of his life and his place in the Ashkenazic community of London in the first person, with many illustrations. The book was written in response to Eisner's belief that much classic literature contains anti-Semitic stereotypes, including Dickens's portrayal of Fagin. Eisner has cast the story in the form of an interview between Fagin and Dickens, on the night before Fagin is to be hanged, in which Fagin tells his life story and pleads for a more understanding portrayal by Dickens.

The book was published by Doubleday in 2003.

A tenth anniversary edition was published by Dark Horse in 2013.

Flame (comics)

The Flame is a fictional superhero that appeared in American comic books published by Fox Feature Syndicate. The Flame first appeared in Wonderworld Comics #3 (July 1939) and was created by writer Will Eisner and artist Lou Fine.

Hal Foster

Harold Rudolf Foster (August 16, 1892 – July 25, 1982), better known as Hal Foster, was a Canadian-American comic strip artist and writer best known as the creator of the comic strip Prince Valiant. His drawing style is noted for its high level of draftsmanship and attention to detail.

Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, Foster rode his bike to the United States in 1919 and began to study in Chicago, eventually living in America. In 1928, he began one of the earliest adventure comic strips, an adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs's Tarzan. In 1937, he created his signature strip, the weekly Prince Valiant, a fantasy adventure set in medieval times. The strip featured Foster's dexterous, detailed artwork; Foster eschewed word balloons, preferring to have narration and dialogue in captions.

Jerry Siegel

Jerome Siegel (; October 17, 1914 – January 28, 1996), who also used pseudonyms including Joe Carter and Jerry Ess, was an American comic book writer. His most famous creation was DC Comics character Superman, which he created in collaboration with his friend Joe Shuster.

He was inducted (with Shuster posthumously) into the comic book industry's Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1993.

Jules Feiffer

Jules Ralph Feiffer (born January 26, 1929) is an American cartoonist and author, who was considered the most widely read satirist in the country. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1986 as America's leading editorial cartoonist, and in 2004 he was inducted into the Comic Book Hall of Fame. He wrote the animated short Munro, which won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 1961. The Library of Congress has recognized his "remarkable legacy", from 1946 to the present, as a cartoonist, playwright, screenwriter, adult and children's book author, illustrator, and art instructor.When Feiffer was 17 (in the mid-1940s) he became assistant to cartoonist Will Eisner. There he helped Eisner write and illustrate his comic strips, including The Spirit. He then became a staff cartoonist at The Village Voice beginning in 1956, where he produced the weekly comic strip titled Feiffer until 1997. His cartoons became nationally syndicated in 1959 and then appeared regularly in publications including the Los Angeles Times, the London Observer, The New Yorker, Playboy, Esquire, and The Nation. In 1997 he created the first op-ed page comic strip for the New York Times, which ran monthly until 2000.

He has written more than 35 books, plays and screenplays. His first of many collections of satirical cartoons, Sick, Sick, Sick, was published in 1958, and his first novel, Harry, the Rat With Women, in 1963. He wrote The Great Comic Book Heroes in 1965: the first history of the comic-book superheroes of the late 1930s and early 1940s and a tribute to their creators. In 1979 Feiffer created his first graphic novel, Tantrum. By 1993 he began writing and illustrating books aimed at young readers, with several of them winning awards.

Feiffer began writing for the theater and film in 1961, with plays including Little Murders (1967), Feiffer's People (1969), and Knock Knock (1976). He wrote the screenplay for Carnal Knowledge (1971), directed by Mike Nichols, and Popeye (1980), directed by Robert Altman. Besides writing, he is currently an instructor with the MFA program at Stony Brook Southampton.

Lady Luck (comics)

Lady Luck is a fictional, American comic-strip and comic book crime fighter and adventuress created and designed in 1940 by Will Eisner with artist Chuck Mazoujian. Through 1946, she starred in a namesake, four-page weekly feature published in a Sunday-newspaper comic-book insert colloquially called "The Spirit Section". The feature, which ran through November 3, 1946, with one months-long interruption, was reprinted in comic books published by Quality Comics. A revamped version of the character debuted in 2013 in DC Comics's Phantom Stranger comic.

List of Eisner Award winners

The following is a list of winners of the Eisner Award, sorted by category.

No awards were presented in 1990 because the Eisner administration was transferred to San Diego Comic-Con during that year.

Martin Nodell

Martin Nodell (November 15, 1915 – December 9, 2006) was an American cartoonist and commercial artist, best known as the creator of the Golden Age superhero Green Lantern. Some of his work appeared under the pen name "Mart Dellon."

Sequential art

In comics studies, sequential art is a term proposed by comics artist Will Eisner to describe art forms that use images deployed in a specific order for the purpose of graphic storytelling (i.e., narration of graphic stories) or conveying information. The best-known example of sequential art is comics.

Spirit (comics)

The Spirit is a fictional masked crimefighter created by cartoonist Will Eisner. He first appeared June 2, 1940, as the main feature of a 16-page, tabloid-sized, newsprint comic book insert distributed in the Sunday edition of Register and Tribune Syndicate newspapers; it was ultimately carried by 20 Sunday newspapers, with a combined circulation of five million copies during the 1940s. "The Spirit Section", as the insert was popularly known, continued until October 5, 1952. It generally included two other four-page strips (initially Mr. Mystic and Lady Luck), plus filler material. Eisner was the editor, but also wrote and drew most entries—after the first few months, he had the uncredited assistance of writer Jules Feiffer and artists Jack Cole and Wally Wood, though Eisner's singular vision for the strip was a unifying factor.

The Spirit chronicles the adventures of a masked vigilante who fights crime with the blessing of the city's police commissioner Dolan, an old friend. Despite the Spirit's origin as detective Denny Colt, his real identity was virtually unmentioned again, and for all intents and purposes he was simply "the Spirit". The stories are presented in a wide variety of styles, from straightforward crime drama and noir to lighthearted adventure, from mystery and horror to comedy and love stories, often with hybrid elements that twisted genre and reader expectations.

From the 1960s to 1980s, a handful of new Eisner Spirit stories appeared in Harvey Comics and elsewhere, and Warren Publishing and Kitchen Sink Press variously reprinted the newspaper feature in black-and-white comics magazines and in color comic books. In the 1990s and 2000s, Kitchen Sink Press and DC Comics also published new Spirit stories by other writers and artists.

In 2011, IGN ranked him 21st in the Top 100 Comic Book Heroes.

The Comic Book Greats

The Comic Book Greats is a 1991 documentary series produced by Stabur Home Video. The series was hosted by Stan Lee. Stan interviewed a different comic book artist for each episode. The artists interviewed include Todd McFarlane, Rob Liefeld, Jim Lee, Whilce Portacio, Sergio Aragonés, Chris Claremont, Bob Kane, John Romita Sr., John Romita Jr. and Will Eisner.

Uncle Sam (comics)

Uncle Sam is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. Based on the national personification of the United States, Uncle Sam, the character first appeared in National Comics #1 (July, 1940) and was created by Will Eisner.

Wonder Man (Fox Publications)

Wonder Man is a fictional superhero created by American cartoonist Will Eisner, whose only appearance was in the comic book Wonder Comics #1 (May 1939). The character is of some historical significance due to a lawsuit that resulted from his only appearance.

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